Live music and in-person performances could come back, sooner rather than later.
Beginning April 2, arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33% capacity, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday.
There will be a limit of 100 people indoors, and 200 people outdoors, though if all attendees present proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors and up to 500 people outdoors.
In statements released late Wednesday, officials at both The Egg in Albany and Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady said they don’t yet plan to present shows even with the new guidelines.
“With the 100 person limit it still does not make sense to open at this point,” said Peter Lesser at The Egg.
While plans are still in flux, leadership at Saratoga Performing Arts Center says they will be ready for the show to go on this summer, in some form.
“Throughout the last 12 months, we have been in on-going conversations and collaboration with our resident companies — New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center — to make certain that we find a way for them to be in Saratoga this summer, one way or another,” said Elizabeth Sobol, the president and CEO of SPAC. “Last year, SPAC Reimagined was focused on a SPAC without live performance. This year the ‘reimagination’ has to do with how to present live performance in new and creative ways that meet the challenges created by COVID.”
SPAC marked off spaces on the lawn during some events last season so people could socially distance themselves. They may use that strategy this year as well, depending on the types of performances featured and the trajectory of COVID-19.
The Glimmerglass Festival, which announced plans for its summer season earlier this week, plans to take performances outdoors this summer, building a new stage to do so.
“While this move outdoors is primarily for the health and safety of our company members, audience members and community, it is in harmony with what people love about Glimmerglass — innovative art and performances in a beautiful location,” said Francesca Zambello, festival artistic and general director.
Called the Andrew J. Martin-Weber Lawn Stage, it will be built on the south side of the campus and seating will be divided into “Festival Squares,” which can be shared by up to four people. Beyond the Squares, there are also Glimmerglass Boxes, which fit up to six people in the same party and provide both cover and seating. According to organizers, the festival must also obtain approvals from state and local officials before rehearsals and performances start up later this year.
The season is slated to run from July 15 through Aug. 17. It includes pieces like “The Magic Flute,” “II Trovatore,” and “Songbird (La Périchole).” It will also include a world premiere of “The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson,” which follows the founder of the National Negro Opera Company, the longest-running all-Black opera company in the United States.
The 2021 season will mark the beginning of “Common Ground,” a three-year initiative that will bring six new works surrounding life in America to the stage.
“These commissions will showcase the diversity of the American experience through a variety of creative voices and approaches to storytelling,” Zambello said.
Tickets for the season go on sale Monday. For more on the season, visit glimmerglass.org.
While the classical season at SPAC has not been announced, there are several Live Nation concerts listed on the calendar throughout the summer, with Chicago starting things off on July 18.
Live Nation seems to be optimistic about the summer. In a report from Deadline, CEO Michael Rapino said that there is a “clear outline to a 75% to 100% capacity for outdoor US events in 2021.”
“We are seeing… what we’ve been talking about: [fans] are excited to get back to the show as soon as we get the green lights in these markets to open up,” Rapino added.
Meanwhile, live music will continue in Bolton Landing this summer with The Sembrich’s Nature & Music outdoor festival.
The series is slated to run from June 13 through Aug. 30 and features everything from opera to chamber music to folk songs to Shakespearean theater. Performances will be held under the performance tent at The Sembrich and social distancing and other restrictions will be in place.
“For nearly a century, the Sembrich studio and grounds have served as an idyllic retreat for artists and public alike,” said Artistic Director Richard Wargo. “We look to the summer of 2021 to explore further that sublime harmony of nature and music in a unique and innovative series, bringing music back to nature in this outdoor festival.”
Festival highlights include The Alfred Z. Solomon Masterwork Series, The Touba Family Foundation World Music Wednesday Concerts, a Beethoven gala, Under the Greenwood Tree: Shakespeare in Nature and a free film series.
For more information, visit TheSembrich.org or contact us at 518-644-2431 or [email protected]